It was hot chocolate, blankets and comfort as Los Angeles firefighters made room for a total of 20 people displaced by a fire that ripped through their home early Saturday. The renovated 1,000 square foot home in Pacoima was completely gutted in the blaze.
A total of three families were living in the house, including 11 children ranging in age from one to 16 years, as well as a pet dog. Now, regrettably, all three families are without a home.
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According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, the fire started at approximately 5.00 a.m., and when they arrived on the scene, the fire and smoke had already spread to the rear of the patio, which was in the process of being converted into a room.
While firefighters had the blaze extinguished by 5:23 a.m., the house was completely gutted. There were no injuries as everyone managed to get out of the home safety before the firefighters arrived. Initially, one family’s pet dog was missing, but has since been found.
According to Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) spokesman, Eric Scott, it could have been so much worse. “It’s amazing everyone got out,” he said.
Firefighters took all 20 occupants to the local fire station so they could be comfortable and out of the cold. It was a cold night and most of them had evacuated the home in pajamas and without even socks on their feet. Hot chocolate and snacks were the order of the day to comfort and cheer them up, especially the kids.
Battalion Chief Daniel McCarty told the Los Angeles Daily News:
“We put on hot chocolate, got ’em doughnuts and put Dr. Seuss on TV. We provided them with a warm environment, so that they would be comfortable.”
Initially, the Los Angeles Daily News reported that 21 people had been affected by the blaze, but it was later established that the twenty-first person was actually the family dog.
Daisy Gonzalez, a teenager who was living in the home, told NBC Los Angeles she couldn’t breathe with all the smoke in the living room. She explained that her aunt and her children had escaped from the home first as the fire started in their room. It soon struck her that she no longer had a home and she said, “We need somewhere to sleep. My mom is sad but she’s trying to stay tough for us.”
According to the LAFD, while multiple families were living in the home, this was not a case of hoarding.
A spokesman said Red Cross officials would be providing the families with hotel rooms for the following three days. Initially, however, firefighters made a communal room available for the kids and their families at the fire station with food, hot chocolate and blankets to give them a little comfort and as can be seen below, put a smile on the kids’ faces.
After initial investigations, it seems the cause of the fire was electrical. The damage caused by the blaze is approximately $200,000. It was noted that the home had no smoke alarms, and apparently, firefighting officials gave out free smoke alarms to other homes in the neighborhood.
The warm drink offered to the families is well known to be a comforter. As reported recently on Inquisitr, just the thought of hot chocolate evokes warm winter memories. The article offers up some great recipes to warm both the body and the soul.
[Images: Screengrabs from NBC video]